I have been away (and without Internet access) for the past 10 days in Tochigi Prefecture. While there I heard about Georgia’s Max Coffee. It’s been sold for a long time, but it was the first time I had ever heard people getting excited over can coffee.
Georgia‘s Max Coffee is sold only in Chiba, Ibaraki and Tochigi. I never knew that, much to a amusement of my Japanese coworkers (who were buying up big at every chance they got). The coffee is sweet and that’s about it, but it seems to be very popular with people selling it on net auctions and driving from Tokyo to Chiba etc just to buy Max Coffee!!!
Can’t understand why they don’t release it in Tokyo, but the limited area of distribution seems to be working as a marketing ploy!!
BOOK OFF is the most popular secondhand bookstore in Japan. It has increased its franchise stores significantly from ’90s, and now there are 845 stores, including 8 stores overseas, Hawaii Ala Moana, New York, Los Angeles, Costa Mesa, Hartsdale New York, Paris, Vancouver, and Rolling Hills Plaza LA.
There are lots of poketbooks and mangas selling at 100 yen! You can get not only books but also CD, DVD and video game softwares at the cheapest price. Sometimes their greetings “Irasshaimaseeee!!!” “Arigatou gozaimasitaaa!!!” are so noisy, but you can’t help buying something there.
Echika is a new underground shopping area around the Omotesando subway station. As Jean Snow has pointed out, the name Echika “is probably an attempt at a pun-tastic combination of the Japanese words eki (station) and chika (underground), but mostly making one think of echi, with its sexual connotations.”
I couldn’t find any information about it in English online, but the explanation for the bunny mascot on the What’s Echika page at the official site is kind of interesting. It relates to the White Rabbit that was Alice’s guide after she fell down from mundane above-ground world through the rabbit hole and into the Wonderland below.
But if you go there expecting to encounter a wonderland, you’ll probably be a bit disappointed. It’s just 26 smallish shops in 5 different areas. Mostly food places, with a few shops (stalls?) selling accessories and “supplements” or some damn thing. But to make the areas more wonderful, they all have French names: Espace Japon, Marché de Metro, Espace Beauté, Espace Mode, Espace Appétit.